MUZAFFARABAD: A day after Pakistan returned an Indian Border Security Force (BSF) soldier as a good will gesture, authorities in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) received on Saturday the body of a villager killed by the Indian troops along the Line of Control (LoC).
Kala Khan, 42, had gone missing while cutting grass for his animals near the unmarked dividing line outside his Darra Sher Khan village in Poonch district on Wednesday. He was later reported to have been captured by Indian army patrol personnel.
However, despite reports in the Pakistani media to this effect, there was no word from the Indian side.
“This morning we received intimation from the Indian held side that they want to handover a body. However, they did not provide any information beforehand about the identity of the deceased,” Malik Ayub Awan, assistant commissioner Hajira, told Dawn.
Mr Awan was part of an official team which received the body at Tetrinote-Chakan da Bagh crossing point in Poonch division at about 3:30 pm.
From the Indian-held side, an army officer of the rank of a lieutenant and some others in civvies had arrived to deliver the body, placed in a wooden box and draped in a plastic sheet, he said.
According to Mr Ayub, the body bore gunshot wounds at the ribs, chest and abdomen and was swollen, suggesting that the death had taken place two to three days ago.
Initially, relatives of the deceased – his cousin and nephew – failed to identify him as their kin, but an old wound on his left arm, mentioned on his CNIC as identification mark, helped them recognise him, he said.
On being asked by the AJK authorities, the Indian army official maintained that he had been handed over the body at a hospital in (occupied) Poonch city in the morning for transference to the Pakistani side.
“I don’t know where it has been brought from and when,” Mr Ayub quoted him as telling them.
He said the Indian official did not give them any document from any civilian authority in occupied Kashmir, including the Poonch city hospital doctors, about the death of Kala Khan.
Deputy Commissioner Poonch Chaudhry Fareed told Dawn that the postmortem report conducted in Hajira had revealed that Kala Khan was shot from point blank range.
“This obviously suggests that he was first captured and then shot dead in cold blood,” he said.
Meanwhile, AJK Prime Minister Chaudhry Abdul Majeed has strongly condemned the killing of an innocent civilian by Indian troops, terming it yet another manifestation of Indian army’s aggressiveness in the disputed Kashmir region.